75% of Australians would prefer to die in their home, however only 14% get the chance to. National Palliative Care Week runs from the 23rd – 29th of May this year. The week raises awareness of the importance of planning for end-of-life care, the incredible dedication of the Australians working in palliative care and the impact it has on families.
Karen Conte, Franchise Owner of a Home Instead Senior Care office and registered palliative care nurse of 30 years says, “The one guarantee we all have in life, is that we are eventually going to die. Whilst it can be an emotional and challenging topic to discuss, Advance Care Planning generally reduces stress for those approaching the end of their life and it allows families to rest-easy, knowing their loved one’s end-of-life wishes are honoured.”
Karen continues, “As a society, we generally don’t think about or discuss death, and National Palliative Care Week is designed to shine a light on the important conversations that should ideally be had, when someone is at the end of their life. My best advice to families is to listen to and recognise your loved ones’ feelings, as this empowers them and gives them dignity during their final days.”
In light of National Palliative Care Week, Home Instead, a national specialist provider of in-home care, has released a list of the Top 5 Tips to help families best support their loved ones who require palliative care:
1. Plan ahead
Discussing the topic of dying is never easy, especially when the conversation involves a loved one. However, talking about what their ‘ideal’ end of life will look like, will help everyone to prepare, plan ahead and ensure your loved one is comfortable.
2. Get affairs in order
Ensure your loved ones’ personal preferences are finalised in writing before any ability to communicate may be compromised. This includes making or updating a Will, appointing a Power of Attorney (PoA) and devising an Advanced Care Plan.
3. Budget for the cost of care
There are various medical costs that need to be considered when a loved one enters palliative care. This includes GPs, palliative care specialists, the cost of medical equipment and other support devices, medications, carers and in-home care services.
4. Pain and symptom management
Pain management strategies are at the heart of quality palliative care. Being able to communicate with your loved one to attain the most appropriate medical professional or medication is vital, to help facilitate a pain-free experience.
Self-care is very important in what can be a highly stressful and distressing time. As a caregiver or relative it is important to ‘TREAT’ yourself:
- Talk to loved ones
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Accept that you may need to ask for help from others
- Take time to plan, support others and prepare yourself for the grief that you will inevitably feel, once your loved one passes
Find out more about Home Instead Senior Care.